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Team Ninja: Ninja Gaiden DS Pleased Creatively, Disappointed Commercially

Talking to Gamasutra as part of a new in-depth interview, an Itagaki-less Team Ninja has been analyzing Ninja Gaiden DS's attempt to provide "hardcore action gam
Talking to Gamasutra as part of an new in-depth interview, an Itagaki-less Team Ninja has been analyzing Ninja Gaiden DS's attempt to provide "hardcore action game experience on a portable machine," signaling design success but user "mismatch" in terms of sales. The Tecmo-owned development team's Yosuke Hayashi, talking in one of the first interviews since the high-profile founder Tomonobu Itagaki left amidst acrimony, discussed Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword, which debuted on Nintendo DS earlier this year as an attempt to expand the franchise: "As a product from a development, concept, and content standpoint, the team is very happy and satisfied with what we were able to achieve and put in the final product. However, we do feel that we fell a little short in trying to communicate that, and have more gamers play what we were able to put in that final product." Also commenting within the interview, Tecmo U.S. VP John Inada noted of the game: "In North America, it was definitely a mismatch of the DS user and the kind of game it was. Commercially speaking, it didn't perform as high as we'd expected, but again, we're all about content, so we're not bent out of shape, because we know we delivered a good game." Hayashi added of the title, which received critical acclaim for its sound technical nature and good use of the DS touchscreen, if not a great deal of audience notice: "It just wasn't the right sort of natural chemistry. It wasn't enough. But we're up for those kinds of challenges, to provide a new and unique way of playing for a given console. Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword was a perfect example of that, in providing a hardcore action game experience on a portable machine. That was our challenge at the time, but we'll continue to look at similar challenges in the future." You can now read the full interview with the Team Ninja team, including more on their thoughts regarding the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, as well as possible plans for the future.

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